Steve Croman-inspired law would ban bad homeowner loans

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Senator Brad Hoylman and Steve Croman (Getty, iStock)

The holiday spirit was audible outside Steve Croman’s mansion on the Upper East Side on Thursday night, but the singers were not singing “Jingle Bells”.

As members of the Stop Croman Coalition, a tenant group formed in 2007 to hold the notorious landlord to account, put their feelings about him to music, a colorful rewrite of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. »Stood out:

“You are a demon, Mr. Croman.
You are a hell devil.
You are the owners’ Bernie Madoff
And a slumlord too
Mr. Croman… ”

The song served as an introduction for State Senator Brad Hoylman, who came with a legislative giveaway: a bill prohibiting homeowners convicted of fraud or violating housing laws from receiving funding from banks at state charter.

The goal of the proposed legislation, Hoylman said, is to prevent bad actors like Croman from purchasing additional buildings and subjecting more tenants to harassment.

“[They] will not receive more money to develop their evil empires and take advantage of even more New Yorkers, ”he said.

Croman has been criticized for years for his alleged predatory treatment of tenants.

He spent eight months in jail after pleading guilty to robbery and tax evasion in 2017, and agreed to pay $ 8 million to settle allegations that he was harassing tenants in rent-regulated apartments. As part of the settlement, temporary control of its more than 100 properties was handed over to Michael Besen’s New York management until 2023.

But in the years since his release, critics say Croman resumed many of his old tactics.

The real deal reported in 2019 that the infamous owner had returned to the city’s real estate market, acquiring new buildings and passing over to give orders to the supers of his existing properties, despite the five-year ban that allegedly prevents him from managing his wallet.

Tenants said TRD they suffered further abuse under the leadership of NYC, which hired former Croman employees. Croman has also faced new lawsuits for allegedly rescinding agreements and illegally deregulating units.

The legislation would prevent Croman from receiving funding from the leading multi-family lender New York Community Bank, which continued to lend to the owner despite being one of the banks he was convicted of fraud.

Excluding construction loans, the city’s three largest commercial real estate lenders – Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, according to TRD2019 ranking – are each federally chartered and would therefore not be affected by the measure. NYCB and Signature Bank, fourth and fifth on the list, respectively, are state banks that would be affected by the bill.

Hoylman, who claimed at the rally that tenants in some of Croman’s apartment buildings lost their heat last month after the landlord stopped paying his bills, said he hoped the ban would send a message that the The state will not tolerate harassment.

“I hope non-state financiers think twice before lending to known slum lords,” he said. Croman did not respond to a request for comment.

Responding to the suggestion that the legislation could constitute a form of double criminality for landowners who have paid for their crimes with time behind bars, Hoylman said state-chartered banks simply shouldn’t help and encourage notorious owners like Croman.

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a national organization that supports regulators overseeing state banks, did not comment in time for the publication.

A spokesperson for the Real Estate Board of New York said the business group, which represents landowners, is reviewing the legislation.

The bill will be on the table when the state legislature returns to Albany in January. Until then, the Stop Croman Coalition “will dream of a warm Christmas …”

“Just like those I knew
We had heating and hot water
And all the things that we should
Before the arrival of Steve Croman.


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